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Sunday 4 September 2011

Nadine Gets Bloggerheaded

A week is still a long time in politics: the last seven days has seen the amendments to the NHS Bill put down by Labour MP Frank Field and (yes, it’s her again) Tory MP for mid-Narnia Nadine Dorries go from hero to zero in very short order. The Christian right is in full froth mode, with Dorries herself appearing more and more erratic as the days pass. And she has only herself to blame.

In the run up to the last General Election, Dorries participated in a hustings at Flitwick (commuter territory north of Luton, in her constituency) where one Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame had been invited to attend and film. In a bizarre outburst, Dorries accused Ireland of “stalking” her, something she has maintained since, despite suggestions from across the political spectrum to retract.

Ireland subsequently, and from a distance – the Dorries allegation was untrue – pointed up the contradictions, evasions and often threatening behaviour of the MP, as she withdrew her blog, then re-launched it without a comments facility (so not really a blog, then), while all the time maintaining the pretence that as many as three people were “stalking” her.

So it should have come as no surprise that Bloggerheads considered the Field and Dorries amendments, and equally unsurprising that Tim Ireland would pass adverse comment on them. And by this process of persistent investigation, those amendments came to the attention of others, whereas they might have otherwise slipped under the radar.

And now it has come to pass that the Guardian has investigated the Right To Know campaign, which has lobbied in favour of the Dorries and Field amendments, and has discovered that Right To Know does not favour giving anyone of investigative mind the right to know who is funding them. The support of Christian Concern for the Dorries campaign was also noted.

In the face of mounting awareness of the potential downsides to Dorries’ campaign, those on the righteous right can only froth: Cristina Odone, former editor of the Catholic Herald, still calls the proposalsmodest” and laughably asserts that “the pro-choice hardliners are losing the war” (get out more, Ms O). And Simon “sleazebag” Walters has segued directly into Dorries’ spiel. To little effect.

Because the momentum is now with those opposed to Dorries and Field. It is not for nothing that I refer to Tim Ireland as serially tenacious, and in this campaign that quality has served him, and the broader part of the Fourth Estate, well. With Nadine Dorries he has not got mad, but has instead got even.

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